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South Korea contributes US$30 million to Pandemic Preparedness FIF

At a UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on September 21, 2022, South Korea President Yoon Suk-yeol highlighted South Korea's US$30 million commitment to the Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF).

Yoon also emphasized South Korea's increased fundraising for ODA despite recent budget cuts. He acknowledged the importance of the FIF for mobilizing sufficient resources to prepare for future pandemics and highlighted South Korea's contributions to other global health efforts, such as its US$300 million commitment to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A).

News article – Yonhap Infomax (in Korean)

New hospital in Bangladesh completed with US$98 million loan from Korea Eximbank

On September 19, 2022, Korean Ambassador to Bangladesh Lee Jang-geun and Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea Eximbank) Director Jeon Jeon-deok gathered in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to celebrate the completion of the Medical University General Center Hospital, which received a US$98 million loan in support.

The project was coordinated by the Korean Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF), which currently prioritizes spending on public health, digital transformation, and green transition in low- and middle-income countries. In addition to building physical health infrastructure, such as hospitals, EDCF also aims to build the capacity of medical personnel.

News article – Newsis (in Korean)

South Korea and United States sign MOU on development cooperation

On September 14, 2022, the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on development cooperation.

Won Do-yeon, Director General of the Development Cooperation Bureau at MOFA, and Michele Sumilas, Assistant to the Administrator of the Bureau for Policy, Planning, and Learning (PPL) at USAID participated in a bilateral development policy dialogue, with the MOU laying the groundwork for further cooperation between the two countries. 

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

News article – Korea (in Korean)

South Korean officials attend MIKTA Deputy-Ministerial meeting on global health

On September 9, 2022, two South Korean officials attended the first Deputy-Ministerial Meeting of MIKTA, an informal consultation and coordination platform among Mexico, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Turkey, and Australia.

Yong-min Park, the South Korean Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and Ko Deuk-young, Officer for Planning and Coordination at the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) both attended the meeting. The representatives discussed ways to strengthen international health systems and cooperation between the five countries. Deputy Minister Park addressed the importance of cooperation in global health security and detailed the South Korean government's efforts to strengthen its response to future pandemics. With the adoption of a statement confirming the willingness to strengthen cooperation among MIKTA countries, the meeting reaffirmed the importance of multilateralism in global health issues.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

News article – Discoverynews (in Korean)

South Korea releases draft 2023 ODA budget totaling US$3.3 billion

The South Korean government released a draft 2023 budget plan that significantly expands the total amount of ODA from KRW3.9 trillion (US$2.9 billion) in 2022 to KRW4.5 trillion (US$3.3 billion) in 2023.

Since ODA and contributions to international organizations have significantly increased, the budget for South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) will increase by 10%. Contributions to international organizations rose about 64% from KRW168.6 billion (US$124 million) to KRW276.7 billion (US$230 million). The government will use humanitarian assistance to contribute US$100 million to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) per year from 2023 - 2025, equivalent to an additional US$300 million to ACT-A over that time period.

News article – Yonhapnews (in Korean)

South Korea opens K-Bio Health Strategy Center

South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) opened the K-Bio Health Strategy Center in Seoul to establish a comprehensive support system for bio-health companies.

The South Korean government has already established six regional centers for sharing experimental equipment and consulting on clinical trials. MOHW plans to push for related policies to create an industrial ecosystem where bio-health companies with excellent technologies can succeed in commercialization. 

Press release – Ministry of Health and Welfare (in Korean)

News article – Korea (in Korean)

South Korea explores digital health options in Western Pacific region

South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) discussed digital innovation on health in the Western Pacific region with the World Health Organization's (WHO) Western Pacific Regional Office and the Korean Society of Medical Informatics.

This meeting was held in connection with the 6th National Assembly International Health Council Forum to promote cooperation between lawmakers in the Asia-Pacific region. MOHW intends to pursue digital-based future medical care, a new digital healthcare market, and a big data-based bio-health industry. South Korea will strengthen cooperation with domestic and foreign digital healthcare experts to explore South Korea's potential role in the Western Pacific region as a leader in digital healthcare.  

Press release – Ministry of Health and Welfare (in Korean)

News article – Korea (in Korean)

20 countries launch global coalition to stop plastic pollution by 2040

The 'High Ambition Coalition to Stop Plastic Pollution,' a group of like-minded countries that have taken the initiative to form a coalition committed to developing a legally binding global agreement against plastic pollution, launched on August 22, 2022; the coalition aims to end oceanic plastic pollution by 2040.

Every year, between 5 -12 million tonnes of plastic waste end up in the oceans, contributing to environmental degradation and increasing microplastics in water. Without effective measures, oceanic plastic pollution is expected to triple by 2040.

The coalition, chaired by Norway and Rwanda, currently has 20 members including Canada, Peru, Germany, Senegal, Georgia, South Korea, UK, Switzerland, Portugal, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Costa Rica, Iceland, Ecuador, France, and the Dominican Republic.

The US, China, and India - the world's largest plastic producers - and other large producers are noticeably absent from the coalition. 

Members of the coalition will meet in New York at the upcoming UN General Assembly in September 2022, followed by a formal meeting in Uruguay on November 28, 2022.

Website - High Ambition to End Plastic Pollution

Government of Sweden - Press Release (in Swedish)

News article - Argus

South Korea and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sign agreement to strengthen health cooperation

South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to strengthen cooperation for international health security and health equality.

Bill Gates visited South Korea to deliver a speech on the importance of international cooperation for infectious diseases at the National Assembly in South Korea. The MOU includes the following items for global health cooperation between South Korea and BMGF:

  1. Strengthen private and public partnerships such as the Research Investment for Global Health Technology Foundation (RIGHT Fund);
  2. Expand partnerships with health initiatives such as the Global Fund, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi); and
  3. Encourage joint research and development of vaccines and diagnostic devices to resolve health inequality. This will be a cornerstone for expanding South Korea’s contribution to international health cooperation.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

Press release – Ministry of Health and Welfare (in Korean)

News article – Newsis (in Korean)

KOICA signals strong support for Pacific Island Countries at high-level conference

Korea International Cooperation Agency's (KOICA) current president Sohn Hyuk-Sang attended the third 'Regional Development Partners Roundtable' at the Forum Economic Ministers Meetings (FEMM) of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) to discuss implementation measures for economic and social cooperation for the Pacific Island Countries (PICs).

KOICA reviewed integrated plans for grant projects linking various development sectors such as environment, infrastructure, and digital with donor countries and international organizations. South Korea has established cooperative relations and partnerships with PICs through regular meetings. Since its establishment, KOICA has provided KRW256.5 billion (US$197 million) to 14 Pacific Island Countries over 30 years. KOICA will continue to strengthen development cooperation with PICs.

Press release – KOICA (in Korean)

News article – Gukjenews (in Korean)

KOICA appoints Seok-Hwa Hong as new director

Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) appointed Seok-Hwa Hong as its new director on August 8, 2022.

Hong has vast experience, serving as an ambassador in Mexico, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. With his abundant local networks to promote relations with South Korea, much support was given to Latin American countries while he was ambassador. Under his leadership, KOICA will strive to become a central development cooperation agency and a go-to for UN efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). KOICA will continue to pursue the implementation of peaceful, just, and inclusive global values.

Press release – KOICA (in Korean)

News article – Mbn (in Korean)

South Korea creates K-Bio Vaccine Fund with US$383 million to strengthen vaccine production, innovation

South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) announced plans to create the 'K-Bio Vaccine Fund' to promote investment in new medicine and vaccines.

The 'K-Bio Vaccine Fund' will be created with KRW500 billion (US$383 million) to develop innovative medicine for domestic pharmaceutical companies, enhance competitiveness in the vaccine industry, and support them to enter the global pharmaceutical and bio markets. The MOHW plans to expand this fund to KRW1 trillion (US$765 million) in the future and hopes the fund revitalizes the bio-health industry and creates innovative development of new medicine in South Korea.

Press release – Ministry of Health and Welfare (in Korean)

News article – Medifonews (in Korean)

South Korea provides 605,000 vaccines to Guatemala, Bosnia and Herzegovina

The South Korean government decided to provide 500,000 Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses to Guatemala and 105,000 BioNTech/Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In line with South Korea’s continuous vaccine donation, South Korea hopes that this donation will contribute to daily COVID-19 recovery efforts.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

News article – Hankyung (in Korean)

South Korea continues to support global COVID-19 response with US$30 million to new World Bank FIF

Park Jin, the South Korean Minister of Foreign Affairs, attended a virtual ministerial meeting for COVID-19, entitled 'Pandemic Prioritized Global Action Plan for Enhanced Engagement' to discuss global cooperation on COVID-19 response.

Minister Park shared South Korea’s plan to contribute to the global health cooperation system. For example, South Korea will contribute US$30 million to the World Bank's new Financial Intermediary Fund (FIF) - a new financing mechanism to better prepare and respond to future pandemics. In addition to its ongoing contribution to the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), South Korea will continue to contribute to the global health system.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

News article – Yonhapnews (in Korean)

South Korea's WHO Training Hub begins vaccine production instruction with personnel from 25 partner countries

South Korea, as the World Health Organization (WHO)’s global Biomanufacturing Workforce Training Hub, began training vaccine production personnel from 25 low- and middle-income countries.

Trainees are expected to have the basic capability to cope with future infectious diseases via education on vaccine development and production. WHO and South Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) have held two steering committee meetings to discuss training plans and cooperation. They also plan to operate the WHO training hub in a way that reduces vaccine inequality around the world through a strengthened cooperation system.

Press release – Ministry of Health and Welfare (in Korean)

News article – Whosaeng (in Korean)

Publish What You Fund releases 2022 Aid Transparency Index

Publish What You Fund released its 2022 Aid Transparency Index, which measures the transparency of key bilateral and multilateral international development organizations. Overall, the project found that donors maintained transparency near pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels; 31 of the 50 evaluated organizations scored in the ‘good’ or ‘very good’ categories, meaning they consistently publish high-quality data on development assistance disbursements. 50 donors were evaluated out of 100 points and ranked accordingly.  

Australia: The index showed that Australia's ODA transparency has continued to deteriorate. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) ranked 41 of the 50 donor organizations, a continuance of their declining trend. The agency remained in the ‘fair’ category but lost 10 points on the transparency index. DFAT was 34 of 47 in 2020 and 23 of 45 in 2018. This decline in transparency occurred under the previous Australian government. The recently elected Labor government has committed to improving accountability and transparency in the development sector. 

Canada: Global Affairs Canada (GAC) dropped from the ‘very good’ category in 2020 to ‘good’ in 2022, losing nearly 10 points in Publish What You Fund’s ranking system and ranking 17th overall in 2022, showing a concerning decrease in transparency amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.  

EU: The report evaluated the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), European Investment Bank (EIB), Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR), and the Directorate-General for International Partnerships (INTPA; formerly DEVCO).  

The European Commission’s (EC) ECHO scored ‘good’ overall and ranked 13th among evaluated donors, improving by nearly nine points compared to the 2020 index. The EC’s INTPA scored 15th among evaluated donors and ranked in the ‘good’ category, but declined by 4 points in transparency from 2020. The EBRD’s sovereign portfolio ranked 24th among donors and scored in the ‘good’ category, declining by 3 points since 2020. The non-sovereign portfolio was also placed in the ‘good' category, but ranked 31st among donors. The EC’s NEAR ranked in the ‘good’ category, as it did in 2020, but declined significantly in transparency, dropping nearly 15 points. The EIB’s sovereign portfolio ranked 33rd among donors and remained in the ‘fair’ category, as it was in 2020; the portfolio also lost 3 points in transparency compared to 2020. The EIB’s non-sovereign portfolio also stood in the ‘fair’ category, ranking 37th among donors.  

France: The French Development Agency (AFD) ranked 28th among donors and sat in the ‘good’ category. The agency improved by five points compared to 2020 and jumped up from ‘fair.’  

Germany: Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) scored ‘good’ overall and ranked 11th among evaluated donors, improving by seven points compared to the 2020 index. Germany’s Federal Foreign Office (FFO), on the other hand, ranked 43rd among donors with only 37 of 100 transparency points. 

Italy: The Italian Development Cooperation Agency (AICS) has gradually improved its performance since 2017. In 2020, AICS was placed in the ‘fair’ category, but the agency improved by 5 points, ranking 34th overall in 2022.   

Japan: The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) dropped the most out of the evaluated agencies – by 26 points – sliding from ‘fair’ to ‘poor’ in 2022 and ranking just 47th out of 50 donors evaluated.  

Netherlands: The Netherlands’ Ministry for Foreign Affairs (MFA) declined by 4 points from 2020, but remained in the ‘good’ category, ranking 23rd overall.  

Norway: Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) dropped from ‘fair’ in 2020 to ‘poor’ in 2022, losing seven points.  

South Korea: South Korea’s Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) scored ‘good’ overall and ranked 14th among evaluated donors, improving by seven points compared to the 2020 index. 

Spain: The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) ranked 42nd among donors, losing nearly 17 points since 2020 and remaining in the ‘fair’ category.  

Sweden: The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) ranked 21st among donors, improving by 4 points since 2022 and sitting in the ‘good’ category. 

United Kingdom: The report found the transparency of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has declined.  According to the index’s ranking, the FCDO fell from 9th place in 2020 to 16th in 2022; no UK agency scored in the 'very good' category for the first time since the Index was launched in 2012. The FCDO and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) sat in the ‘good’ category. The FCDO has underperformed compared to the former Department for International Development (2020) across all five Index components; this is largely the result of a lack of organizational and country strategies and inconsistent release of results, evaluations, and objectives.

United States: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) ranked 25th among donors and was placed in the ‘good’ category; however, the agency lost nearly 12 points and declined significantly in transparency since 2020. The US State Department ranked 32nd among donors, losing 5 points since 2020 and dropping out of the ‘good’ category to ‘fair.’  

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent US government agency, scored in the ‘very good’ category and ranked 5th among donors. The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) jumped from ‘fair’ to ‘good’ in 2022, improving by nearly 9 points and ranking 20th among donors.  

Recommendations for all donors included:  

  • Publishing more project budgets to facilitate planning and coordination;  
  • Implementing government entity references and developing referencing approaches for the private sector to track assistance flows;  
  • For Development Finance Institutions (DFIs), improving non-sovereign portfolio data;  
  • Publishing comprehensive data on project impact metrics; and 
  • Publishing budget documents, project procurement information, and impact appraisals.  

Report - Publish What You Fund 

News article – BOND  

News article - The Telegraph 

News article - National Tribune 

South Korea plans to attract international pharmaceutical R&D players to strengthen vaccine capacity

The South Korean government will aim to attract overseas research and development (R&D) centers in the pharmaceutical industry to make South Korea a global vaccine hub.

As domestic technology is still insufficient, South Korea's strategy involves attracting overseas R&D infrastructure. Although SK Bioscience obtained a COVID-19 vaccine license, South Korea still lacks the experience and capability within the industry to develop a blockbuster vaccine with solely domestic technology. The South Korean government thinks it is necessary to expand its cooperation with global pharmaceutical companies and key professionals beyond the simple manufacturing process required for vaccines. In line with this plan, South Korea has decided to invest KRW2.2 trillion (US$1.7 billion) in total from 2021 - 2026 to leap forward in the global vaccine industry by 2025.

News article – News1 (in Korean)

South Korea provides 40,000 Moderna vaccines to Guyana

The South Korean government decided to provide 40,000 doses of Moderna vaccines to support Guyana with its COVID-19 response.

South Korea hopes that this vaccine donation will contribute to Guyana’s daily recovery efforts and enhance cooperation between South Korea and Guyana. The South Korean government will consider further donations to countries where vaccine support is needed in the future.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

News article – Hankyung (in Korean)

South Korea increases 2023 ODA budget by 12% in Annual Implementation Plan

Han Duck-soo, South Korea’s Prime Minister, presided over the 42nd Committee for International Development Cooperation on June 30, 2022, to discuss South Korea’s ODA direction and its 2023 Annual Implementation Plan.

The Annual Implementation plan proposed the ODA budget for 2023 at KRW4.55 trillion (US$3.5 billion), a 12% increase from 2022. The South Korean government aims to promote advanced international development cooperation by pursuing strategic ODA for global values and domestic interests. The budget allocated for humanitarian assistance increased to KRW422.2 billion (US$325 million), and South Korea will continue to support the international COVID-19 response by making an additional US$300 million contribution to ACT-A for the 2023 - 2025 period.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

High-level strategy meeting proposes 22% increase to 2023 South Korean ODA project budget

South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) invited grant-related ministries and agencies to the fourth Meeting for Grant Development Cooperation Strategy.

Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and Export-Import Bank of Korea (Exim Bank) also attended the meeting to discuss South Korea’s grant strategy. This meeting is the highest-level consultative body that comprehensively coordinates grants and establishes strategies in South Korea. The 2023 Annual Implementation Plan was proposed at the meeting, which included provisions that expanded grant polic and projects for humanitarian assistance. The proposed ODA project budget totaled KRW2.6 trillion (US$2.1 billion), a 21.5% increase from 2022.

Press release – Ministry of Foreign Affairs (in Korean)

News article – Biztoday (in Korean)